Friday, 27 May 2011

Master Marketers - Interview with PR Smith (Part 1)

I am DELIGHTED to be able to post this interview with Marketing guru PR Smith.

I have known Paul for many years, as he was one of my tutors when I took my Post Grad. Diploma in Marketing. 

This post contains the 1st section of a 2 part interview.

Here are a few details of his remarkable career...

PR Smith MBA, PG Dip (Fin), B.Sc. (mngt), Diploma in Marketing

Paul has helped hundreds of companies from innovative SMEs to IBM  via his consultancy and seminars and thousands of companies via his books. 

A Dubliner,  based in London, Paul’s marketing consultancy  integrates basic marketing with cutting edge social media, digital body language, virtual worlds and creative thinking. Paul’s works  in both B2B and B2C markets in Europe, USA, China and Africa. 

Paul’s SOSTAC ® Planning System  is used around the world. PR Smith books are published in seven languages. Paul is  author of Strategic Marketing Communications; Great Answers to Tough Marketing Questions,  eMarketing eXcellence (recommended by the Inst. Direct Marketing) and Marketing Communications - a ‘marketing major’ (Chart. Inst. Marketing)  and his own (self published) personal passion and social media campaign to get sportsmanship back on the agenda,  

Question 1:  You are perhaps best known for the excellent SOSTAC ® marketing planning methodology and model that you developed. Please can you say how it came to be developed? Why do you think it has such a broad following and such wide usage?

Although SOSTAC® is so simple  it actually took me almost 10  years to develop. When I took my MBA back in the 80s I was so frustrated reading books with long meandering marketing plans that were over complicated and impossible to remember. So I kept in touch with my classmates and asked them to send me just the contents page (list of contents) from their marketing plans.  

I analysed all of them and developed my own new structure – which went through several iterations until I came up with SOSTAC®. I knew it was a winner and registered it as a trademark. 

Everyone is welcome to use it – all I ask is that they acknowledge me as the inventor, use the registered trade mark symbol and put a link to my web site  (ideally using the anchor text SOSTAC ® as the anchor text (or the blue hyperlink text).

(Ed. for those not familiar it cover the following areas - from which it derives its name)

  • Situation Analysis (where are we now?)
  • Objectives (where do we want to go?)
  • Strategy (how do we get there) 
  • Tactics (the details of Strategy – marketing mix etc.)
  • Action (the details of tactics- who does what) 
  • Control (measurement) 

That is why it is so simple – it’s easy to use, has a strong logical structure and can be adapted to any plan – whether a business plan, marketing plan, social media marketing plan, personal plan etc.  

Add the 3M resources and you’ve got an outline plan. I’m developing some SOSTAC® eWorkBooks & Planning templates to be released this September.

Question 2:   How well do you think marketers perform Marketing Planning, especially in the emergent area of Digital Marketing? How can they improve their performance here?

Strategy is a common weakness in many plans.  In fact, a few years ago I co-authored a book about Marketing Communications Strategy and discovered that a lot of companies do not have any crystal clear, razor sharp strategies. 

To get a good strategy several options should be considered before selecting the final strategy. If the strategy is wrong everything else is wrong. As Kenichi Ohmae once said to me ’There’s no point rowing harder, if you are rowing in the wrong direction.’

Key components for strategy include: STOP & SIT - Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning linked to Objectives  and Sequence, Integration and Tools.

With digital marketing strategy, deciding which tools to use and how much resource to allocate is particularly challenging. I suggest you allocate budgets according to where your audience is (online or offline).  And also consider constant testing i.e. testing and measuring reactions to different tools and offers. 

This is why digital marketing actually gets easier as everything is easily memorable and easily changeable. However, social media is not a short term campaign, it takes time to build a following and then even more time to maintain it with great, relevant, content and, most importantly – engagement. 

Highly engaged small number of followers is better than a disengaged massive following.  Ask your followers what they want. The will tell you. Then deliver it. Digital marketing naturally creates customer driven businesses. Marketing utopia – which is fully explained in the  the FREE Download Chapter 1 of my 5th ed.  Marketing Communications – integrating offline and online with social media today from my PRSmith Marketing facebook page PR Smith web site.

Question 3:   I believe that you have the new 5th edition of your book ‘Marketing Communication’ available soon. What has changed since previous versions? How have your ideas developed?

Four new chapters: New marketing (integrating social media into processes); Brands; CRM and the final chapter is about Web Sites and Social Media. As in previous editions, the first half  is about the back ground to comms i.e customer psychology, communications models, comms agencies, planning etc., while the second half addresses each of the 10 comms tools online and offline.

I also introduce the Ladder Of Engagement which, I hope, helps people to put a simple structure on an often chaotic social media world. It also helps marketers to choose different  strategic levels of engagement with their customers according to their resources available.  All of this is downloadable as a free chapter from my facebook page PR Smith Marketing facebook page or my web site for a few months.

Useful Resources and Links

Twitter:  PR_Smith
Web site: my web site
Facebook:   PRSmithMarketing my facebook page
Blog: Great Moments of  my sportsmanship social media campaign – please join in.

Smith, PR  & Zook, Z. (2011)  Marketing Communications 5th ed.,  Kogan Page
Smith, PR & Chaffey, D. (2008) eMarketing eXcellence 3rd ed., Butterworth Heinemann 
Smith, PR, Berry C. & Pulford, A. (1999) Strategic Marketing Communications, Revised ed.
Smith, PR (2009) Great Moments of Sportsmanship, PR Smith self published.

Smith, PR (2002) Marketing Essentials series of 10 CDs, PR Smith
Smith, PR (2004) eMarketing eXcellence  10 courses on one CD, PR Smith

Coming Soon SOSTAC ® Workbooks

Check back for part 2 of this interview - COMING SOON!

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